Thursday, May 19, 2005

Third Memory

*a memory*

*again, all sounds are clear*

*a knock on a metal door*

". . . Come in."

*the sound of a door unlatching and creaking open*

"Hey, Heyward. How are things?"

"The same, Taxes."

*a short laugh* "Touchy, as always, eh? . . . Recoil just told us you'll be leaving soon."

*low, almost angry* "He--?"

*interrupts* "Yeah -- he was watching your conversation with those Machinist folks this evening. We kind of figured you'd want to get back into . . . politics sometime."

*silence*

*the speaker's voice moves closer*

"Look, Heyward. Yes, we have been watching you. Yes, we know you don't like it. But we're not doing it for the reasons you think. We don't . . . distrust you, Heyward. We don't want to use you, and we don't want to hurt you, or what you believe in."

*the speaker's voice comes even closer; a small sound, as of someone settling onto the end of a bed*

"The Home's a neutral ship, remember? None of this 'For Zion' or 'Re-insertion now' crap here. We just live. And let others do the same. That's important to us -- to Death and me."

*the voice continues*

"We're watching you, Heyward, because . . . well, we want you to be careful. We don't want you hurt." *a smile in the voice* "You might hate it, but you're a rookie, kid. Green as grass. Most redpills are at least used to being Human, but, well . . . you don't even have that, do you?"

*a pause*

"So we watch. To make sure you don't get into situations you don't know your way out of. You've been doing pretty well, so far."

*a pause, as though the speaker is waiting for a response, before the voice continues*

"So, these No Exit people. Death and I have done a little looking into them. Seem like decent enough folks -- maybe a little crazy, but no worse than anybody else who decides to get mixed up in choosing sides in there. You might do okay with them. Learn some things, get some answers . . ."

*the sound of something being placed on the bed*

"Anyway, packed some things for you. You'll probably need them where you're going -- you'll want to have your own things in Zion." *a laugh* "The city ought to be an experience for you. Go sightseeing, eh? Look at all the Humans."

"Taxes . . ."

"No, I'm kidding, Heyward. It's okay. Just take care of yourself. And tell us where you end up. You're planning to join the . . . Proserpina, right? With that IdesofMarch woman?"

"Yes."

"Well, just contact us when you join the crew. We'd like to know that you made it alright, Death and I."

"I will not make promises, Taxes."

"I know, Heyward. Still, I thought I'd ask anyway."

*the sound of a person standing up*

"We'll be docking at Zion late tomorrow. Good night, Heyward."

*the sound of a door being pulled to, and of a latch catching*

*end*

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